Today in History:

54 Series I Volume XXVIII-I Serial 46 - Ft. Sumter - Ft. Wagner Part I

Page 54 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

Bay, and returned to Hilton Head to open communication through, if possible. On arriving at Hilton Head on the 2nd, I found that my orders for having a station built on Kiawah had not been executed. I then sent an order to Lieutenant Hawkins to go to Kiawah and have a platform made sufficient to work from, and remain there. I went to Saint Helena tower, and tested him thoroughly to Hilton Head and to Botany Bay, and found it was all working well.

On the 3rd, I left Saint Helena Village on the Peconic, and stopped at all stations, and on the 4th landed at Kiawah, and found the station there not what was wanted, but so it would work part of the time. As headquarters could not beseem from Kiawah, for want of sufficient elevation, I put an officer as the lower end of Folly Island. From this date until the 8th tried constantly to work through, but found great difficulty on account of the Kiawah station being too far from Botany Bay for so low a station. I did get some messages through, but not satisfactorily, so I went over, and selected a place 2 miles nearer Botany Bay. I had a new station built there 30 feet high. This station was finished on the 12th, and communication was opened through, and I reported to the major-general commanding that the line was ready for duty. He sent a message to General Seymour at Hilton Head, and as General Seymour did not reply for some hours, the reply started just at high, and a fog prevented its getting through until next day. The line continued to work well with the exception that during could weather it is a general occurrence that after sundown the consideration of atmosphere makes a fog so thick as to prevent communication over a mile. This difficulty becomes less as the cold weather passes away, and will entirely disappear very soon. My plan was to work from Hilton head to Otter Island with only one intermediate station, and from Otter Island to Botany Bay with one. It will be necessary to keep a station on Kiawah, as so much smoke arises from camps there and on Folly Island as to render it impossible to see a station on Folly Island from there. I think a station between Otter Island and Botany Bay will not be necessary after the winter is passed. We now communicate often from Botany Bay to Otter Island direct, but only in clear weather. When smoky they cannot communicate, but I think in the spring there will, be few days when we cannot communicate well. My experience has suggested the following improvements, which, with the consent of the major-general commanding, I shall carry into execution: First, to built the station at headquarters about 70 feet higher, which will make direct communication with Kiawah, and save reputation of messages; secondly, to move station at Big Bay to near Edingsville, which will divide the distance more equally between Botany Bay and Otter Islands, and enable them to use smaller flags and work more rapidly.

The station on Saint Helena Island is built badly, and proves to be in the wrong place. By Colonel Serrell's advice I took that place, he considering it to be in the best location and right for distance, and as it had three large threes so growing as to make three corners of the tower, which he thought would save much time in building. The result knows that it took longer to built, is incisure after completion, and is about 3 miles out of the way. I think a tower at Hilton Head would enable us to communicate with the present one on Saint Helena most of the time, built with a tower at Hilton Head and on Saint Helena, much smaller than the present one, located 3 miles nearly due south (say 10 degrees west of south) of it would

Page 54 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.